My experience at Mail Shark allowed me to utilize every digital marketing skill I had acquired in my professional journey. Allow me to tell my story as the Digital Marketing Manager at Mail Shark, where I played a pivotal role in transforming the company’s marketing landscape. Discover the evolution of a multi-faced digital marketing campaign spanning SEO, Google Ads, social media, content strategy, and analytics.
- Successfully led the internalization of Mail Shark’s marketing operations, reducing dependence on external agencies and fostering self-sufficiency.
- Orchestrated the evolution of Mail Shark’s digital landscape, overseeing SEO, Google Ads, social media, content strategy, and analytics configuration.
- Centralized website and marketing activities, resulting in significant cost savings by eliminating the need for an external digital marketing agency.
About Mail Shark
Mail Shark, a premier direct mail printing firm, specializes in delivering prompt direct mail marketing solutions to quick service eateries (QSR), local service providers, and pizza franchises. Over the past decade, the company has experienced substantial growth, establishing itself as a national leader in the realm of direct mail advertising.
Goals and Objectives
One of my early objectives was to centralize our website and marketing activities. This strategy would significantly reduce the company’s expenses by eliminating the need for a monthly allowance dedicated to an external digital marketing agency. The internalization of all digital marketing strategies also promoted efficiency since it drastically shortened the time needed to launch new campaigns.
Once these systems were established, my goal would be to leverage digital marketing to funnel more potential clients towards our sales team. This entailed crafting a comprehensive marketing program spanning email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, and all facets of social media.
Role and Responsibilities
As digital marketing manager I was solely responsible for all of the companies digital marketing efforts. Hiring employees was not an option at the time as all functions were able to be managed in-house by using select freelancers to accomplish aspects that I could not handle personally. I would work directly on projects and report progress to the CEO and VP of Sales on a weekly basis.
Strategies, Tactics, and Approach
In order to devise an effective marketing strategy, I started by taking control of the website, paid search, and email marketing efforts internally. This decision was made with the belief that our in-house team would understand our brand’s identity, values, and goals far better than any external agency.
Next, I created a comprehensive content marketing plan spanning the next 16 months. This plan was meticulously crafted based on thorough market research and an in-depth understanding of our target audience’s needs and preferences. The primary goal of this plan was to generate engaging and valuable content that would attract potential customers to our brand.
A significant part of my approach was centered around keyword research which involved identifying relevant keywords that could help improve our website’s visibility on search engines. By incorporating these keywords into our website’s content, we were able to optimize our site for search engine algorithms thereby improving its ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Addressing all technical SEO issues was also a priority in my approach. Early identification and resolution of these issues ensured that they didn’t hinder the user-experience or affect the performance of our website negatively. Moreover, it facilitated a smoother navigation experience for users while improving the overall visibility of our site on search engines.
By focusing my efforts predominantly on content post resolving technical issues and keyword research, I aimed to create quality content that resonated with our target audience while simultaneously aligning with SEO best practices. This comprehensive approach towards developing a marketing strategy has been instrumental in boosting our online presence while attracting new customers consistently.
A content marketing plan would be developed and would include regular posts and updates on the company blog, focusing on relevant industry topics and news. Additionally, I would develop a comprehensive social media strategy to drive further traffic towards these blog articles while also engaging with our audience across various platforms.
Moreover, an email marketing campaign was devised that worked hand-in-hand with the content marketing efforts. The emails served as another means of driving traffic towards new articles and encouraged subscribers to engage more deeply with the brand.
Part of the link building strategy involved reaching out to influencers within our industry to help promote our content. This not only helped garner more visibility for the brand but also increased trust in us as a leading voice within our sector.
Back in 2015, I had already grasped the significance of what we now call EEAT content, even though it wasn’t explicitly labeled as such at the time. This realization stemmed from monitoring our analytics, where I noticed a consistent trend: the ‘About Us’ pages were consistently drawing substantial traffic on our website. It became clear to me that visitors wanted to learn more about our organization.
Acknowledging this interest, I dedicated considerable time and resources to enhancing the ‘About Us’ section of our site. I incorporated detailed bios of our employees and embedded video testimonials from satisfied customers. Additionally, I supplemented these descriptions with photographs of our production facilities to provide an insider’s view into how we operate.
Moreover, understanding the value of establishing trust signals, I documented the awards and press mentions Mail Shark had accumulated over time. By doing so, it was my aim to clearly demonstrate that we were not merely participants but indeed leaders within our industry sector.
As I was link building I noticed that the previous business that was at Mail Shark’s location was still showing in search results. After working with the auto dealership chains, I understood the importance of local citations and worked tirelessly to work through all the incorrect listings and have them either updated or deleted. Later on this strategy would be called NAPW alignment with tools that would assist with the process.
Analytics & Reporting
Another key objective was configuring an advanced system of analytics that included phone call tracking and the ability to track incoming leads based on the channel whether it be organic search, PPC, or phone calls calls generated from references on clients direct mailers. A vanity URL was added to client direct mail piece’s that allowed the company to track direct mail efforts as a dedicated channel in Google Analytics.
Paid Search Advertising
Implementing paid search advertising is an integral part of a comprehensive marketing program. Tools like Google Ads and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are essential components of this mix. As a key player in this process, my role involves managing all ongoing campaigns to ensure they achieve the desired results. This includes not only steering these initiatives but also setting up and monitoring conversion tracking configurations. This helps in measuring the effectiveness of our campaigns and making necessary adjustments for optimal performance.
One of the primary obstacles I faced during my tenure as a Digital Marketing Manager at Mail Shark stemmed from collaborating with a sales department that underestimated the significance of digital marketing initiatives. This hurdle compelled me to delve deeper into my analytics and reporting, necessitating stringent cross-verification of all leads within the company’s CRM system.
Navigating the highly competitive field as a direct mail marketing, promoting Mail Shark was indeed a formidable challenge that pushed me to tap into my resourceful side. Understanding SEO principles proved beneficial as the information we had available was both in high demand and scarce online during that period.
Being unable to expand my team, I had to rely heavily on my resourcefulness. To boost my efficiency, I collaborated with specialized contractors for segments of projects that were beyond my expertise, such as web development. Simultaneously, I persistently pursued professional growth, continuously enhancing my skills throughout my tenure at Mail Shark.
Results and Achievements
A blog article received national attention as Mail Shark was one of the first to report and update as the USPS went through postage rate increases. At the time, the USPS was terrible at publishing this information. We used this as means of link building which increased our organic search traffic significantly from that time moving forward. It was a huge win and one of the greatest optimization achievements of my career.
While developing Mail Sharks analytics I would share our server side tracking configurations research with the developers at HubSpot allowing the company to release the WordPress LeadIn plugin that would allow users to track incoming lead submissions by source, allowing teams to see exactly where each form submission was generated. I was subsequently invited to HubSpot’s InBound 2015 conference in Boston and met the development team in person as we all worked towards a common goal.
Mail Shark has performed extremely well over the last 10 years. The companies gross earnings are public knowledge and during my time Mail Shark would continue to double it’s revenue every year, going from $2 million to $4 million and when I left the company was on track to make $10 million annually. In 2023 the company was reported to make $17 million and boasts a marketing team that consists of 6 people.
An essential lesson I’ve gathered is the significance of setting up analytics and reporting at the onset of a marketing campaign. As practitioners in the field of digital marketing, it’s crucial for us to demonstrate that our efforts are positively influencing the business and yielding a positive return on investment (ROI). Consequently, correct configuration of analytics should be woven into every marketing strategy from its inception, before any substantial marketing pursuits begin.
Another key lesson I learned while working at Mail Shark is the power of collaborating with the sales. Doing this opens up a vast learning platform about any businesses clients. Upon hearing sales discussions, I rapidly grasped the specific jargon and adapted our communication strategy to match. As a result, our campaigns strongly connected with Mail Shark’s customers, leading to more successful campaign initiatives.
Lastly, I learned that a viral piece of content will help gain visibility to a website, but ultimately this traffic needs to be converted into a sale in order for company owners to view content marketing efforts as a profitable endeavor.
In conclusion, my time at Mail Shark was enriching experience and provided an exceptional platform to apply all my digital marketing skills effectively. I am grateful for this invaluable experience that has undoubtedly prepared me even further for future marketing roles.